Usually, with the right treatment, getting rid of toenail fungus takes a few weeks to a few months, and possibly longer. Toenails usually grow by less than 2 mm per month and the infection has to completely disappear before a toenail can be considered to have “healed”. With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus is gone, the nails may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows.
The fingernail grows in 4 to 6 months and the toenail in 12 to 18 months. Use the treatment exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider will likely take a small sample from under the nail for further analysis. Looking at the cells under a microscope can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus.
If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be done to see if the fungus is growing in a crop. This also helps your healthcare provider identify the type of fungus. If the treatment is working, you should see a new, healthy nail grow from the base of the nail over the course of a few months. The old infected nail should start to grow and can be gradually cut.
Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot (known as foot fungus or athlete's foot) and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. It happens when a fungus, from mold to yeast and other types of fungi, enters the nail bed through a cut or break in the nail or through repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. While foot fungus is fairly easy to treat, toenail fungus is incredibly difficult to get rid of and, in some cases, never go away, Sundling says, noting that even the best oral medication is only 70 percent effective. Your healthcare provider will direct a high-tech laser beam and special lights toward your toenail to treat the fungus.
The most effective treatment for toenail fungus for you will largely depend on your symptoms and your situation. There is no treatment for toenail trauma, but removing your nail may be an option if your nail hurts. Toenail fungus occurs when fungus gets between the toenail and the nail bed (the tissue just below the toenail). In addition, keeping your feet dry and alternating shoes will help you avoid getting toenail or toenail fungus to begin with.
According to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, toenail fungus is very common in 14 percent of people in North America, and is more common as you age, Sundling adds. Talk to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus to determine what's best for you.